At Winter NAMM 2017, Roland (Booth 300A, Level 3) is showing the System-8 Plug-Out Synthesizer, an advanced performance instrument that features the latest generation of the Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) technology.
Powerful and deep, the System-8 delivers a wide range of sounds inspired by over four decades of legendary Roland synths. To complement its internal sound engine, the System-8 can host and control up to three Roland Plug-Out software synthesizers such as the included, downloadable Jupiter-8, and new Juno-106 Plug-Out, which is also now included and available for download. The synth also includes a massive array of hands-on controls, as well as a polyphonic step sequencer, vocoder, CV/GATE outputs, arpeggiator, and other creative tools.
The System-8 features three expansion slots for hosting and controlling Roland's Plug-Out software synths. The Jupiter-8 and Juno-106 Plug-Outs give users immediate access to sonic reproductions of these Roland classics. Additional Plug-Outs will be available in early 2017. Optional Plug-Outs such as the SH-2, SH-101, Promars, and others are supported as well. Using the System-8's Performance mode, it's possible to combine the internal synth engine and hosted Plug-Outs to create super-synth patches with layered voices, custom splits, and more.
The ACB plugout system in a hardware synth might be an indication of what to expect in the future from brands like Roland, Yamaha and Korg (who allready had a plugin system for their high end Oasys. I personally might not be surprised if plugins are the future, not just for software, but also for hardware..